Flash floods kills at least 15 in Japan


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The Independent Online

Heavy rain has triggered flash floods and mudslides in southern Japan, causing at least 15 deaths and leaving 18 more people missing.

Television footage showed residents wading through muddy, hip-deep water on streets. Others shovelled out mud from their homes.

Officials said damage was concentrated in Kumamoto and neighbouring Oita states on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Most victims were in their 70s and 80s.

Homes were destroyed, and tens of thousands of people had to evacuate the area threatened by swollen rivers and mudslides.

The Meteorological Agency said as much as 50 cms (20 ins) of rain fell overnight. It predicted up to 20 cms (8 ins) of rainfall up to tomorrow.

Rescue workers and defence troops have been sent to the region to help.

The heavy rains also disrupted local train services, blocked off roads and left about 22,000 homes without electricity.